Sometimes Renting the Paris Dream is Safer and Just as Satisfying

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Living in Paris is a dream for many people, but a dream financially unattainable.  It may also be that the vagaries of foreign property ownership and the added wrinkle of currency fluctuations are simply not for you.  I mean, while a property may appreciate, if the currency tumbles, appreciation can quickly turn to loss.  For example, in late 2008 the Euro was pushing $1.60. Today it’s nearer $1.05 … essentially erasing a third of its value in nine years.  As recently as the autumn of 2014, the Euro was hovering around $1.40, making for a precipitous loss is a short time … simply from currency. I can tell you that any Parisian market gains in no way offset the currency declines.

You want a second home, not a tax write-off.

Rent.

While I was in Paris last month, I had a perfect confluence of the stars.  CandysDirt.com friend and HGTV hostess Adrian Leeds was on hand to give a sampling of rental units. Also scoping out the market was Dave Perry-Miller agent Sharon Quist who was in town with a friend selling her Paris home.

Chances are you are not going to be living full-time in your second home … otherwise it would be your primary home.  So the best option is to rent.  If the time spent is significant enough, you may want a full-year lease.  Otherwise, the best thing to do is find a furnished month-to-month property you can continually return to.  In setting up this type of arrangement, you get the luxury of returning to the same place and having the illusion of ownership … but without the headaches or responsibilities.

As someone who works from home, the Le Magenta apartment in the 10th Arrondissement caught my eye. It’s located between the Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est train stations near the République metro stop. FYI, don’t start Googling for a Rue Magenta in Paris for the location.  Magenta refers to the apartment’s sofa color.  🙂

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The apartment is located on the top floor … so much easier than trying to consistently remember that Europeans would call it a third floor (above ground level) while Americans believe it to be fourth (including ground level). Net-net, it’s where the dormers are and likely former servants quarters (pre-elevator, servants got the extra flight of stairs).

We’re talking a freshly renovated three-bedroom apartment with two shower rooms and a separate water closet (very French). So it’s big … not Dallas big, but a more than suitable Paris base of operations.

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The foyer hints at the modern colors mixed with the traditional furnishings that are found throughout.  You can also see a peep of a bedroom to the right.  For the uninitiated, old apartments, especially those carved out of many small rooms (like old servants’ quarters) can have quirky layouts by today’s standards.  You’re in Paris, roll with it.  A clue to this home’s humbler beginnings can be seen on the floor.  While Paris is awash in herringbone floors, servants got plain plank floors. Of course, servants also got the best views.

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The living room is spacious with comfy furniture, built-ins, and a desk area for those personally or professionally shackled to a laptop while away. In an odd twist, Quist’s umbrella was a near perfect match for the upholstery.  Perhaps a sign?

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Seen from another angle, the magenta moniker is apparent.  I splash of color in the city of light.  With this much space, the everyone has a place to sit and any gathering is welcoming to guests.

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The kitchen is Paris-sized … meaning you’ll be eating out a lot anyway (it’s Paris!), so why use a lot of space in the kitchen? For those times when you just can’t eat another truffle or slice of foie gras, this kitchen has all you’ll need to whip up something closer to home.  Believe it or not, this space contains a euro-large refrigerator/freezer, induction cooktop/oven, dishwasher, and washing machine. For those with a hankering for the homeland, many grocery stores have a U.S. section filled with Uncle Ben’s, Fluff, Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, pancake mix, and other American delicacies.

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This is the master bedroom you peeked at from the foyer.  It’s got a fireplace (non-functioning), plenty of built-ins, and a desk that also holds the TV.  A nice large window helps combat jet lag.  If one of you is a restless sleeper, the bed can be separated into two twins (very European). If one of you snores, there are two other bedrooms with doors.

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The second bedroom is pretty close in size to the master without all the built-ins.  It too has an ornamental fireplace and large window.  Personally, I like this room better as being surrounded by built-ins feels a little closed-in for me.

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Here we see one of the shower rooms (not large … it’s Paris … get over it) and the separate water closet.  While the separate WC may be odd to Americans, I can say there’s a convenience to it.  One can still shower and primp while another can … you know.

The apartment has a four-night minimum with prices ranging from €179 per night in winter to a monthly rate that fluctuates between €3,218 and €5,661 per month.  So for under €10,000 you can live in Paris for three months, risk-free of the vacillations of the property and currency market.  Not a bad deal at all.

In addition, the rent includes cable TV with 240 channels (admittedly limited for English speakers), WiFi and FREE CALLS to 100 countries (including US and Canada).  Literally, all you need are clothes and a toothbrush.

Having just spent a month in Paris, I can tell you it’s all it’s cracked up to be … especially in February when the chill brings out the sales and chases out the tourists. Even the Hemingway Bar at the Paris Ritz wasn’t as wall-to-wall as usual. It lent the perfect backdrop to the day with Adrian Leeds and “Sharon of the (Dallas) Ritz.”

Remember: When I’m not stirring up trouble in Dallas, Texas or Honolulu, Hawaii for Candysdirt.com and SecondShelters.com, I’m off scouting interesting locations for a second home.  In 2016, my writing was recognized with Bronze and Silver awards from the National Association of Real Estate Editors. If you’re a Realtor with second home clients who’d like me to feature their journey, shoot me an email sharewithjon@candysdirt.com